Rolls Royce or Lacklustre?

 

Gym Hygiene Explained

Gyms and fitness centres attract people from all walks of life, and making close physical contact with the gym equipment is the name of the game right?  That is potentially why these centres have been delayed in reopening, and also why it is so very important to get the sanitisation of the centres 100% right.

The staff, the personal trainers, the centre staff, the pool attendants all work in varied environments, going to public halls, conducting outdoor boot camps, doing 1:1 sessions in peoples’ houses; this means they are moving around differing environments, and have the potential to touch many shared surfaces.

Support has been given in several research studies that gyms contain high amounts of germs, bacteria and viruses (Markley et al., 2012; Mukherjee et al., 2014).  Before COVID I would regularly go in to gyms and fitness centres and privately scoff at their poor hygiene management practices, but because they weren’t my customers I just kept my professional opinions to myself – I mean if a watered down disinfectant that carries no accreditation is the only hygiene management you want to employ ….. that’s entirely up to you.  I know that watered down disinfectants will kill absolutely nothing, but I don’t have to go to that particular gym.

Fast forward to 2020 and 2021, gym hygiene is on the top of everyone’s’ agenda, so today, I thought I’d offer up my Rolls Royce Approach to cleaning and sanitising gyms and fitness centres, so at least you as a gym/fitness centre owner knows what good looks like.

Firstly, I think its sensible to tackle who is responsible.  It is definitely the gym owners responsibility to provide sanitising spray and centre feed so that users of the equipment can spray the machine/weights down before and after use.  This offering in itself will allay a lot of peoples fears that the gym isn’t a sanitary area.  Anyone who is super nervous can protect themselves (and others) by sanitising the equipment they are about to touch and have touched.  Signs should be put up inviting gym goers to help with the effort in keeping the fitness area sanitary.

Gym owners should be providing a good quality sanitising spray – one that kills both bacteria and virus’s within 30 seconds is a sensible starting point……. I of course have recommendations.  Both Selgiene Extreme and Salvesan carry both the BS EN 1276 and the BS EN 14476 accreditation meaning these will keep everything bacteria and virus free if left on for 30 seconds before wiping off with a piece of centre feed.  Both have been laboratory tested and Salvesan has been used in a clinical trial in a care home (N.S Meakin et al., 2012).

It is the gym owners responsibility to provide hand gel either at hand sanitising stations or  pump top hand gel bottles, which of course need to be accredited to BS EN 1276 (bacteria kill on hard surface), BS EN 1500 (on hands) and  BS EN 14476 (kills virus’s on hard surface). I would suggest Sterile or Salvesan (this is an exceptionally versatile product!)  out of either a pump top bottle or one of our hand sanitising stations

Step 1 Hand Hygiene

Providing a good hand gel at the door to encourage people to sanitise their hands on entry is really important.  Especially if you are following the rest of the steps, because you can effectively very easily create a sanitary zone, in which people can work out, be safe and start getting back to normal. As I said before, you need to make sure you have a good hand sanitising product such as Sterile or Salvesan and to appear professional have a few hand sanitising stations throughout your gym area and changing facilities.

Step 2 Hands, Face, Space

Now we’ve dealt with the hands situation, you need to think about how many people you can comfortably fit into your gym area whilst observing social distancing? 2 metres for a gym seems right to me rather than making it a 1 metre zone, but it is entirely up to the gym owner. You know your customers…… Ask you users to wear a mask, at least when travelling between equipment.  We need to acknowledge there are absolutely loads of people out there wearing these ‘Face Mask Exempt’ badges that aren’t really face mask exempt.  I can’t think of absolutely pushing myself to my physical limits in terms of lifting and not being able to get as much air in to my lungs so I can lift heavy?  So if you are asking your customers to wear a mask when moving around, you are doing your part, and your customers will ultimately do as they please.  Unless you want to challenge non-mask wearers, which is entirely up to you.

Step 3 Rotate users

Once you have decided how many people you are going to let in, and how much space you have got to work with, you should think about a bookings system. How many sessions are you going to run per day?  You open the gym at 5.30, one session starts then for 1 hour, then you close the doors for sanitisation procedures to take place.  Now I have intimated in the title of this blog that this is a Rolls Royce Approach… and here is why.  If you are using the right products, and following my approach, depending on the size of your gym and fitness area, you only need to close the doors for 5 or so minutes.

Step 4 Spray and Wipe

We have already discussed that the main responsibility for spraying and wiping the machines down can be put on the customer, but only really if you are going to go for the Rolls Royce Approach, which must include step 5.  If you don’t have the funds etc you must make sure the staff in your gym are spraying down the equipment with an accredited chemical such as Selgiene Extreme and Salvesan and make sure that after every rotation, every piece of machinery/weight etc is wiped down – this is going to take more than 5 minutes.

Step 5 Regular fogging

This is where the Rolls Royce Approach comes in to its own.  If you are using a Hypochlorous Acid product (of course it must be a stable HOCI (Hypochlorous acid) that is accredited and is manufactured by a reputable manufacturer who is abiding by the regulations – see my vlog/blog on this here)

If you are using Salvesan to fog your gym/fitness equipment you can rest assured that Astral Hygiene and Aqualution have tested this solution to ensure it is killing viruses and bacteria in the most effective way.  The fog that is created with the fogging machines we stock here actually kills almost immediately, and we have lab results to prove this.  HOCI is made of natural ingredients, entirely compostable, so will ultimately end up as those raw ingredients….  salt and water.  Aqualution put this salt and water in to a specified stable state, and in that state this solution is fine to use in busy environments.  There is no requirement for PPE because it is a natural product.  So effectively, you can fog, and then open your gym up almost immediately without having to wait for any toxic chemicals to dissipate. You can then be assured you are allowing your customers in to an entirely sanitary area.

Salvesan goes through our machines at roughly 10mls per minute, and you don’t need your fog to ‘appear’ to touch every surface, because the fog creeps as it is moved around the room despite the appearance that it is no longer there.  This was certainly the case in several studies Aqualution have done.  The fogging machines start at under £500 so you can get yourself set up quite cheaply, and if you buy from Astral Hygiene you get free training, which will help you to maximise the effectiveness of your fog and make your Salvesan go a long way!

Give us a call, and we’ll be happy to hear from you!

References:

Markley, J. D., Edmond, M. B., Major, Y., Bearman, G., & Stevens, M. P. (2012, 2012/12/01/). Are gym surfaces reservoirs for Staphylococcus aureus? A point prevalence survey. American journal of infection control, 40(10), 1008-1009. https://doi.org/https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ajic.2012.01.015

 

Meakin, N.S., Bowman, C., Lewis, M.R., Dancer, S.J. (2012). Comparison of cleaning efficacy between in-use disinfectant and electrolysed water in an English residential care home.  Journal of Hospital Infection, 80 (2012), 122-127. https://www.journalofhospitalinfection.com/article/S0195-6701%2811%2900427-0/abstract


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